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Title: Use of personality to improve reintroduction success : the effects of behavioural variation within release groups
Author: Stratton, T. D.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5920 7356
Awarding Body: Nottingham Trent University
Current Institution: Nottingham Trent University
Date of Award: 2015
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The study of personality (consistent individual differences in behaviour) is a growing area in behavioural ecology. The majority of studies have investigated the proximate or ultimate causes of these individual differences. However, there is growing interest in their practical applications, particularly to conservation. Previous studies have shown that personality scores can affect individual behaviour response after release into a novel environment. Experimental and theoretical discussions have since suggested that varying the composition of personality types within a release group may therefore affect the success of a translocation. This study investigates practical aspects of applying personality research to translocation projects using a non-endangered model species, the wood mouse (Apodemus sylvaticus). Chapter Two begins by confirming that wood mice have consistent personality traits using a simple personality testing procedure, carried out in the field to avoid potential biases from transporting animals to captivity. Chapter Three assesses some potential biases and confounds that may be faced from trapping and testing animals in the wild, identifying variations in trapping probability and microhabitat use between personality types. Chapter Four looks at changes in personality composition caused by long term captive breeding and the potential impacts this may have of translocation projects are discussed. In Chapter Five an experimental translocation is carried out to investigate the effect personality composition has on both individual and group success, by focussing on the key short term effects of dispersal and mortality. Overall, this study demonstrates that personality traits affect aspects of habitat use, dispersal and risk taking in the wood mouse and provides a number of recommendations for future studies and translocation projects. It is also the first study to provide empirical evidence that personality composition can affect the result of a translocation and recommends that individuals with a mix of personality types should be released.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available